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Rural Project Examples: Physicians

Effective Examples

OHSU Rural Surgery Training
Updated/reviewed March 2018
  • Need: General surgeons are needed in rural communities.
  • Intervention: Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) is sending residents to complete a one-year general surgery rotation in rural southern Oregon.
  • Results: Almost half of the graduates of the Grants Pass rural residency program are now practicing in a rural setting, and these residents are more likely to enter general surgery practice and serve in a community of fewer than 50,000 people.
HEALTH-COP Obesity Prevention
Updated/reviewed August 2017
  • Need: Many physicians want to help rural children who are overweight or obese develop healthy lifestyles, and these physicians would benefit from receiving training on specific ways to instruct, motivate, and manage the healthcare of these children.
  • Intervention: A virtual learning network called Healthy Eating Active Living TeleHealth Community of Practice (HEALTH-COP) was created to educate rural physicians and provide peer support.
  • Results: Studies showed an increase in health and wellness topics covered by physicians during children's clinic visits. This likely contributed to healthier eating habits and more active lifestyles that were found when these children were reassessed 3 months later.
MU AHEC Summer Community Program
Updated/reviewed August 2017
  • Need: Lack of healthcare providers, specifically physicians, in rural Missouri.
  • Intervention: Rising second-year medical students at University of Missouri's School of Medicine are given the opportunity to participate in a clinical program in a rural community setting.
  • Results: Almost half of the participants from 1996-2010 chose to practice in rural locations upon graduation.
funded by the Health Resources Services Administration Appalachian Preceptorship Program
Updated/reviewed October 2016
  • Need: To prepare future physicians for practicing in rural southern Appalachia.
  • Intervention: The Appalachian Preceptorship Program offers medical students clinical preceptorships to give them experience practicing in rural, underserved communities of southern Appalachia.
  • Results: Students who participate in this preceptorship are more than 3 times as likely to practice medicine in a rural location.

Promising Examples

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy TUSM-MMC Program Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship
Updated/reviewed February 2018
  • Need: To fill vacant medical positions in Maine's rural medical facilities.
  • Intervention: The Tufts Maine Track LIC program offers clerkships in rural medical facilities, exposing medical school students to the positives and possibilities that rural practices have to offer.
  • Results: The program has seen an increase in students' interest to practice in rural Maine. The majority have pursued medical careers in one of the 6 core specialties studied during their clerkship.
Health Extension Rural Offices (HEROs)
Added October 2017
  • Need: People in rural New Mexico often found it difficult to find and utilize needed resources from the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (UNMHSC).
  • Intervention: UNMHSC created Health Extension Rural Offices (HEROs), in which HERO agents live in the communities they serve, help identify health and social needs, and link them with UNMHSC and other university resources.
  • Results: In their regions, HERO agents’ activities have been diverse, including recruiting physicians, mobilizing research funds to address local priorities, working on economic development, training laypeople in Mental Health First Aid, and helping local institutions access UNMHSC resources.

Other Project Examples

Kearny County Hospital’s Physician Recruitment Model
Updated/reviewed February 2018
  • Need: Physicians to serve in an increasingly diverse population in rural Kansas.
  • Intervention: Kearny County Hospital changed their recruitment model to include paid time off for doctors and midlevel providers to serve as international service workers, as well as medical school loan forgiveness.
  • Results: Kearny County Hospital has re-opened their services to out-of-county patients and are receiving an increase in applications from medical providers.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Rural Experiences for Health Professions Students (REHPS)
Updated/reviewed January 2018
  • Need: An ongoing shortage of healthcare providers in rural areas of South Dakota
  • Intervention: A 4-week summer program placing health professions students in rural communities.
  • Results: Of graduating participants, 70% practice in South Dakota with 30% practicing in rural communities with populations fewer than 10,000, or veteran facilities.
Walk with a Doc in Klamath Falls
Updated/reviewed January 2018
  • Need: To give people an incentive to walk for exercise.
  • Intervention: A national program called Walk with a Doc was adopted by Klamath Falls, Oregon that invites community members to walk with their local doctor and simultaneously get answers to their health-related questions.
  • Results: Patients continue to faithfully attend and engage in intentional health-focused conversation during the weekly walks.
Prairie Lakes Healthcare System
Updated/reviewed December 2017
  • Need: Localized specialty and surgery services for residents in rural northeastern South Dakota and western Minnesota
  • Intervention: Prairie Lakes Healthcare System expanded their services by recruiting specialty physicians and networking with regional community hospitals to increase patient referrals
  • Results: Patients receive surgery and specialized care closer to home through Prairie Lakes' 26 specialty medical providers and more than 20 specialty services